Virtually any Bucharest inhabitant can smell that something has burned during the night. This is confirmed by the air quality monitoring platforms such as Airly:

Air quality example from Bucharest

Air pollution in Bucharest (and other places in Romania) is far from being new:


I am trying to understand how Romanian authorities still allow this to happen despite the issue being acknowledged in the EU for a couple of years now.

I have checked the infringements proceeding for Romania, but I do not seem to find what I am looking for (infringement related to high pollution in Bucharest, or something encompassing it). The closest I could find is this decision which mentions:

The Commission urges Romania, Greece, and Malta to adopt their first national air pollution control programs and to communicate them to the Commission, as required under Directive (EU) 2016/2284 on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants.

  • "Romanian authorities still allow this to happen" Isn't that obvious? High PM concentrations usually result from combustion for heating. Replacing coal and wood as fuel is costly. Modernizing furnaces and installing and operating filters is also costly. Romania is rather poor. I live in Germany and I have to modernize or decommision my fireplace within the next two years. The political intention behind this is of course to decrease residential PM emissions. You can't just do something like that in a poor country where fireplaces are the main source of heating and not just recreational.
    – Roland
    Nov 1, 2022 at 6:26
  • @Roland It's not only burning wood or coal for heating. It's way worse than that as mentioned by an ex-official (the last reference): "Octavian Berceanu, the former head of Romania’s National Environmental Guard, told Digi24 that illegal fires around Bucharest may have been the main cause of the spike in air pollution. “Most of the smoke comes from burning dismantled cars, which are extremely toxic, 4,500 times more toxic than wood,” Berceanu said.".
    – Alexei
    Nov 1, 2022 at 7:17
  • Yes, but according to my limited research, Bucharest is violating pollution targets even without those "spikes". They can (and should) task police with acting against illegal fires but those are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
    – Roland
    Nov 1, 2022 at 7:27
  • @Roland Yes, the picture in the post is what I have seen in a moderated polluted area of Bucharest last night and this is happening for dozens of nights per year (some sensors indicate worse values). It is one of the "elephants in the room" and I cannot understand how the EU (which theoretically values the environment so much) somehow allows this to happen for such a long time.
    – Alexei
    Nov 1, 2022 at 7:32
  • 1
    It is a long process until the EU commission takes a country to court. (And doing so is partly a political decision with all the usual issues surrounding that.) Even after a judgement, it can take quite some time until sufficient measures to rectify the situation are implemented. You can look up the long story of Germany violating the limits in the EU Nitrates Directive as an example where a EU country was forced to implement specific measures.
    – Roland
    Nov 1, 2022 at 8:00


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